Christian Challenge International
9:10-22 The Radical Transformation of Saul"
From: "Pastor Buddy Martin" <Bro.Buddy@ChristianChallenge.org>
Date sent: Fri, 6 Sep 2002 15:27:59 -0500
Subject: [HF] Acts 021 - Acts
9:10-22 The Radical Transformation of Saul
In our last study we left Saul sitting in darkness. The man who struck
fear in the hearts of believers is blind. Saul has entered the 'dark night
of the soul.' But we will soon see that God has great plans for this
man. And so even in his darkness, Saul is given a vision of a man
named Ananias coming to him. Let's pick up our study ...
This is Acts 021 - Acts
9:10-22 The Radical Transformation of Saul.
"Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and
the Lord said to him in a vision, 'Ananias.' And he said, 'Here I am,
Lord.' And the Lord said to him, 'Get up and go to the street called
Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus
named Saul, for he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man
named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, so that he might
regain his sight.'
.... So far our studies have kept us in the Jewish world. The door for
the Gentiles has yet to be opened. Everything that has happened so
far can be called 'in house.' Everyone is a Jew. The believers are
Jews. Those against Jesus are Jews. It is a Jewish battle.
Perhaps we need to reflect on a prophecy given to Mary. When the
baby Jesus was brought to the temple, according to the custom of the
time, the prophet Simeon said, "Behold, this Child is appointed for
fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed--?" (Luke
Many in Israel failed to turn the corner with the new covenant. This
became their 'falling.' Will they rise again? Most certainly. This is why
we cannot separate the history of the Church from the people of Israel.
Our future is intertwined. The new covenant is a Jewish covenant. It
has never stopped being that. And it can only complete its work when
Israel through her leadership, calls upon Jesus as Messiah.
Jesus said, "From now on you will not see Me until you say,
He [Jesus] who comes in the name of the LORD!'" (Matt23:39)
Back to Ananias....
.... The name Ananias is the same as Hananiah. And as we read what
happens to Ananias, it is much like reading the story of the Lord
speaking to the child Samuel. After calling his name the third time,
Samuel says, "Speak, for Your servant is listening."
.... But the distinction is much different. Samuel wasn't sure who was
speaking to him. Saul is perplexed, and asks, "Who are you
But with Ananias, he knows exactly who is speaking to him. When he
says, "Here I am, Lord," he is responding to Jesus.
.... This brings us back to what Jesus said about His sheep; "I am
good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me." And, "My
sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me." (John
10:14,27) This is the strength of true Biblical Christianity. Every
born again knows Jesus in a very personal way, and certainly knows
.... But the message Ananias hears is astonishing. He feels compelled
to question the Lord. Saul of Tarsus? The Lord's response is very
telling. Saul is praying. Saul has had a vision of Ananias coming. Saul
sees Ananias in a vision laying hands on him for his healing. The Lord
always works on both ends.
.... Everything Jesus says to Ananias, is to build this disciple up for
task set before him. It is important to understand that a true walk of
faith is never a step into darkness. It is always a step into light. Not
we will know all the facts of the future, but we will know that our
forward movement is ordained by the Lord. This is why it is always
best to wait, if you are not sure.
"But Ananias answered, 'Lord, I have heard from many
about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem;
and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on
.... The news of Saul's playing havoc on the Church had spread when
the Jewish believers scattered out of Jerusalem. The reports had
"But the Lord said to him, 'Go, for he is a chosen instrument
of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons
of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name's
.... Here we see one of the great mysteries of our faith. Everything
happens in bringing Saul to the Lord, has been the Lord's doing. At no
point could it is be said that Saul was a seeker. Later we hear Paul say
that God had set him apart from his mother's womb. (Cf. Gal1:15)
.... This is what Ananias hears about Saul. The Lord says:
(1) He is a chosen instrument.
All believers are said to be chosen in Christ, but not all believers
chosen instruments in the same sense as was Paul. What is said
about Saul, the Lord had earlier said to the original apostles; "You
not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go
and bear fruit..." (Cf. John
The apostle Paul later writes the believers, and says, "He chose
believers] in Him before the foundation of the world." (Cf. Eph1:4)
Such a wondrous mystery this....
(2) He will bear the name of Jesus before Gentiles, and kings, and the
sons of Israel.
As we move forward in Acts, we will see this to be the case. But this
statement goes far beyond Acts. The apostle Paul has done more to
spread the gospel of Jesus Christ than any other person in the history
of the Church. It is not uncommon to find certain Jewish writers today
of accusing Paul of being the originator of Christianity.
(3) He will suffer much for his faith in Jesus Christ.
And he did. Listen to Paul's later description of his service to the
"...in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times
number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews
thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was
stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent
in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers,
dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the
Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on
the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and
hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often
without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things,
there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches."
.... For those who love being called apostles today, makes you wonder
how they would measure up to the man called Paul.
"So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after
laying his hands on him said, 'Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who
appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me
so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.' And
immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he
regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized; and he took food
and was strengthened. Now for several days he was with the disciples
who were at Damascus."
.... Saul's last instructions were, "Enter the city, and it will
be told you
what you must do." (Acts
9:6) It is at the moment of the laying on of
hands that Saul receives his healing, and is given the Spirit of the
covenant. (Birth from above. Paul later gives more fill in on this
.... He is now in fellowship with the disciples in Damascus. Here again
we see the kind of love that is poured out in the hearts of believers.
Saul is a brother in the Lord. His past is forgiven. He is one with Jesus
Christ. And he is loved as a true brother of the faith.
"...and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the
synagogues, saying, 'He is the Son of God.' All those hearing him
continued to be amazed, and were saying, 'Is this not he who in
Jerusalem destroyed those who called on this name, and who had
come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief
.... What greater miracle is there than a radically transformed life?
There is the no greater miracle. What makes this even more
awesome, is that Saul the tormentor brings that same zeal he had as a
persecutor of the Church, over into his life as a witness to Jesus. This
is some of what Jesus meant, when He said, "You shall be my
witnesses." (The transformed life is a sure testimony to the truth of
.... Guess who is confounded now? The Sanhedrin has just lost their
greatest warrior. He is now a warrior for Jesus. And this new warrior
turns his full attention to preaching Jesus in the synagogues of
Damascus. (So much for 4 years of seminary training.)
"But Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews
who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ."
.... Even the Jewish leadership in the synagogues were no match for
Saul. This man not only had the knowledge that came from his years
of training under Gamaliel, combined with the fact that he was from a
family of Pharisees, that is, the most devoted sect in Israel to the
Scriptures, he now has the anointing and wisdom that only the Holy
Spirit can give. Saul now has what he saw in Stephen.
Let's complete this part of our study at this point. Feel free to
and ask questions.
Shalom in Christ,
Lawrence E. (Buddy) Martin, HF Host
"See to it that no one comes short of the grace
of God; that no root of bitterness springing up
causes trouble, and by it many be defiled." (Heb12:15)
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